ATLANTA (USA TODAY) -- A 4-year-old boy was asked to leave a restaurant because employees said his shirt violated the dress code.

Lewis Roberts thought the outfit he picked out — which included a green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sleeveless shirt — looked great. But when he and his family tried to sit down for lunch at the Tavern at Phipps Plaza, he was told he didn't meet the "Gentlemen's Dress Code."

After Lewis' family explained that he was only 4, the hostess told them they still had to leave. When they asked to speak to a manager, the manager told them the dress code extended to "gentlemen of all ages," and they were again asked to leave.

"If we would have thought for a minute that he was inappropriately dressed, we would have gone to a different restaurant to save the embarrassment," said the boy's aunt.

The restaurant wouldn't speak with WXIA-TV, but after upper management found out about the incident, the company issued a statement clarifying its policy.

"(The) rule does not apply for children and ladies — for gentleman only," the statement from company spokeswoman Amber Stewart. "It was an embarrassing misunderstanding on our part. She's a manager in training who had a gross misunderstanding of our policy."

Stewart's statement said the company apologizes for the incident and was reaching out to the family.

After talking to the restaurant, Lewis' family says apology accepted, and they plan return to the restaurant.

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